Summary of Council decision:

Two issues were investigated, of which one was Upheld and one was Not upheld.

Ad description

An online display ad for Stripe & Stare’s “Frill Short Pyjama Set – Marshmallow Dye” seen on IGN’s website, on 11 December 2022. The ad depicted a young female model wearing an unbuttoned pyjama top that exposed her bare chest. Her arms and hands were raised, with her hands touching her face.


1. The complainant, who believed that the ad objectified and sexualised the girl or young woman depicted, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible.

2. The complainant also challenged whether the ad breached the Code by portraying someone who seemed to be under 18 in a sexual way.


1. & 2. Stripe & Stare Ltd said that they did not believe the ad sexualised underage girls or objectified women. They stated that the ad was run by their digital marketing agency through Google Performance Max who had selected this image for use; the image had been used for 12 months without other complaints. They said the model was 27 years old at the time of the photoshoot and they disagreed that the styling of the clothes sexualised the model because her breasts were not shown. They stated that the pose was not childish, and instead was a fun and light-hearted image that represented their brand, which was targeted at women.

Google Ireland Ltd, the service providing the ad platform, said that they were unable to locate the specific ad in question. However, they confirmed that the image featured in the ad would comply with Google’s sexual content policy, although it would be subject to restrictions applicable to “partial nudity” and would therefore not be eligible to be served unless Google were able to determine with sufficient assurance that the user was 18 years of age or older, and had not turned on Google’s SafeSearch. They confirmed that “Performance Max” was a type of Google Ads advertising campaign that combined texts and images provided by advertisers to show ads across Google channels and that they used a combination of automated and human review to ensure compliance with Google Ads policies.


1. Upheld

The ad showed the model with an unbuttoned top and exposed her bare chest. The ASA acknowledged that the model’s breasts were not shown and that the pose was not inherently sexual. However, the unbuttoned top and her pose with arms in the air meant that model’s naked chest and torso were visible and prominent. The unbuttoned top was not the way the garment would usually be worn, and it was not necessary to expose the model’s body to advertise the product. The image appeared in a display ad on a gaming website and the ad featured this image only, and it was therefore prominent within it. We considered that the styling of the model’s clothing and her pose caused viewers to focus on her chest, which had the effect of presenting her as a stereotypical sexual object.

While the ad had been produced using Google Performance Max we understood that the image would have been provided by the advertisers to use in their marketing campaign across Google channels. Regardless, advertisers were primarily responsible for ensuring that their ads complied with the CAP Code.

We concluded that the ad objectified the model and was therefore irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising), 4.1 and 4.9 (Harm and offence).

2. Not upheld

The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not portray or represent anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 years of age in a sexual way.

We understood that the model featured in the ad was aged 27 years old at the time of the photoshoot. She appeared in a pose that resembled stretching out of bed, her hands partly covered her cheeks, and she had a playful expression. We considered that her face was youthful, which was amplified by the playfulness of the pose and facial expression. We acknowledged that some may find the combination of the young looking model and the partial nudity in the ad distasteful. However, we considered that they were unlikely to view the model as being a child or teenager. We therefore considered that the ad had not breached the Code by depicting someone under 18 in a sexual way.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.8 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Stripe & Stare Ltd to ensure that future ads were prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and to society and that they did not cause serious or widespread offence by objectifying women.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

1.3     4.1     4.8     4.9    

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